Category Archives: mental health

S.A.L.T.

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Things are on the change for M just now.      He is preparing to move from primary school to secondary after the summer break.    It is a scary time for him and all the other kids that are going through this at the moment.      For M though, it is a much bigger deal.

M has suffered with anxiety issues for such a long time.    Therefore the added pressure of a period of transition can be difficult for him, and that is putting it very mildly.

A while back, we took him to the GP because his anxiety issues were becoming unbearable for him and he was loosing a ridiculous amount of his education.     The doctor was brilliant with him, and referred him to the child mental health unit at the hospital.

He  had an assessment and was referred on to a psychologist.

The psychologist has met with him a few times, and Hubby and me, both with and without M.     It was quite a harrowing experience for us to go over the negatives in my son’s life.    I hate to focus on the things that are not going well, and prefer to build up the positives.        As usual at these type of things, I cried a lot, but was pleased we had decided to get M the help that has been unavailable to him for too long.       The psychologist decided they were several people it would be useful to refer him on to, these include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, school doctor, as well as looking into dyslexia, and fragile x syndrome.

We received a letter about the  appointment for speech and language therapy (S.A.L.T.), quite quickly.      I took M to the appointment.      He was, as can only be expected, very wound up about the whole process.      Not knowing why he was going confused him, as he doesn’t see what the rest of us do, in that his speech is often babbled and totally non-understandable.     I tried to explain to him what it was all about, but it was difficult, as I too was nervous.    I was worried that there would be another label being stuck on my gorgeous boy.

When we got there, we actually went to the wrong place in the hospital, but were redirected, and were still very early!    While we waited he sat on my lap and cuddled, doing his cat noises that he does when he is trying to make himself invisible.

The therapist asked us to go through.   She had a student with her, so M was doubly nervous about strangers.      Both of them were of course lovely.     They let M play with some Lego, while I gave them the background information of why we were there.     It is quite difficult to give enough information when for us, it is just part of who M is.     Lots of questions were answered and many notes were taken.     It was then M’s turn to answer some questions.    He was asked about school, and what he liked to do.      He muttered and mumbled his way through the questions.    He then had to do a little task of explaining why sentences he was given didn’t make sense.     He was nervous while doing it and kept looking at me for help and reassurance.     He did fine though.      He then played a game of Guess Who with the therapist.    To him it was a game, but it was a way to get him using descriptive language.      When the game was finished, M packed it away, while the therapist and I had another wee chat.     She said on first impression, she believes his poor speech is a nervous thing, as when he was talking about something he knew about he was very articulate.     She wanted to meet with him again to do some more detailed testing.    The appointment was made for this week just gone.

He was less nervous going for the second appointment.     He had met the people before and he knew where he would be going.     It was far calmer for him.    Well, it was until we got to the waiting room, and then, he again sat on my lap for reassurances.       The therapist still had her student with her, and the student was given the lead of the session.

The first task was for M to say what was on the pictures he was shown.     The idea of this task was to hear him   pronounce various sounds, while notes were made of how he says things.    He whizzed threw them, with a rather bored attitude after a while.      The next task was to interpret the sentence said to him and point to the picture it represented.    It started easily but got more and more complicated, with plenty of double negatives and sentences given in a way that nobody actually speaks.     The final task was that he was shown images and asked questions about them.     It was all very interesting listening to his responses, as he was spot on with the majority of them.     He did spend a lot of time, looking at me for reassurance and grabbing at my hand.     He was nervous and it showed, but he did brilliantly.     He was then allowed to play with the Lego, while the therapist spoke with me.      She said he has an amazing vocabulary, as well as knowledge of use of it.     She said that she saw no need for her to have continued input with him as it was obvious that the times when his speech became confused was when he was frustrated or confused by the task he was being given.    She says she will report her findings back to the psychologist but will say that she believes his speech problems are directly relating to his stress level.

While it is great that there is no underlining reason for his often confused communication, it is also frustrating that there is nothing we can do to directly help him with this.    We again have to look at ways to help him manage his anxiety.

We continue to help him prepare for the transition to the secondary school, and try to get procedures in place that may help him to manage his anxiety.

 

 

Drawing a line and move on.

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Last week has to go down as one of the worst.

On Wednesday I received a letter saying I had to attend court because I was contesting the fine I had been issued for failing to attend jury service.       If that wasn’t bad enough, I had to attend court on Friday.     Yes, just 48 hours notice.    As you can imagine, I went into full blown panic mode at the arrival of the letter.     I wish I had just paid the fine in the first place.      Luckily I have some very good friends who were able to offer some helpful advice.     I thank them with all of my heart.      I made notes about what had happened and why.    I felt I was doing the right thing.

On Thursday I went to the doctors.     It was a scheduled appointment to see how I was getting on since the change of my medication.     I just blubbed my way through the consultant as I told the doctor I had no idea if they were working as with everything going on I was beyond any level of stress I had previously encountered!       She thought that considering I was on such a high dosage of my previous medication that the new one should be upped.      I am now on the middle dose of these pills, and to be honest now I have been on them a few days, I am actually feeling quite good with them.     I am hoping it is a corner turned.

Thursday night, I didn’t sleep at all well.    I felt sick to my stomach all night and it only got worse when I got up!      Hubby took the day off work to support me at court, and I am so glad he did, as I would not have been able to do it by myself.

We parked in the city centre and walked to the court.     I felt terrible.     I found which court room I was in, and then I waited.      Listening to all the cases being heard before mine was horrible.      There were drug addicts, shop lifters, and even a paedophile.       I just felt so horrible.      I felt dirty sitting there with other bad people.     After over 2 hours waiting I was called.    Standing in the dock was frightening to say the least.        The judge was horrible.        He called me an “irresponsible citizen”.   I felt about an inch tall, as he laid into me about how not turning up for jury service was extremely serious.       When I tried to explain I had misread the citation because my medications were being altered, he did not want to listen.       He threatened to increase my fine to £1000, because he was allowed to do so.     He did however after making me sweat, reduce it by half, and allow me to pay it in small amount.       It caught in my throat as I thanked him before leaving the court.      When I got outside, I just burst into tears.   Hubby was really supportive, telling me it was over now.     I just felt like the scum of the earth.     I felt really unworthy.

I don’t think I had taken my failure to go to jury service as such a serious matter as it actually was.   I know it was wrong, and if I had read it properly, I would have definitely have been there.   It was my civic duty.    I have always considered myself to be a community minded person, and would not have deliberately ignored my duty.     It was a genuine mistake.

I spent the rest of the day, feeling like the scum of the earth, because that is what I was made to feel like.     I cried every time I thought about it.    I have replayed every word spoken at me in court so many times.    It was horrible and humiliating.      It was an experience I hope I never repeat.

I am now drawing a line under the whole episode.     I need to move on from it, and not stew and let it upset me for any longer.       I know to use my depression as an excuse for stupidity  doesn’t add up, but the fact is, they are inter locked.

My advice to anyone who receives official looking paperwork, is to read it, re read it, and for good measure, read it again.     Possibly, even get someone else to read it for you too!       I assure you, I wont be making the sort of idiotic mistake again!

I am not a bad person, I’m just a wee bit messed up right now!

Onwards and upwards……

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

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Life has been a bit of a mess recently.     That’s the polite way of saying I have been a total nightmare.

The tablets the doctor had prescribed were making me even stranger than usual – I know that seems hard to believe.       I was having some most peculiar dreams about people and places I knew, that were so vivid and real, that it took me ages every morning to distinguish the reality of the awake world.      These dreams were so eccentric that my sleep pattern was so messed up with me getting very little uninterrupted sleep.     I was therefore physically tired all of the time.     I was also mentally exhausted as my brain was not getting the down time it needed to recharge.    It wasn’t fun for me and I wasn’t fun to be about.    Hubby asked if I had read the leaflet that comes in the box with the tablets, to check the side effects.      I had to admit I had read it when I first started taking them, but that was a couple of years ago, and I was now on a much higher dosage.      I sat down with the mile long piece of paper with microscopic print on to see if my newly found strain of weirdness was related to them.     Not surprisingly, I had every side effect on the common list, most on the sometimes list and even a couple on the rare list.      I came to the conclusion the pills weren’t doing me much good or rather not the good they were aim for!     The doctor had spoken to me when she changed my dose about maybe changing medication, so I knew she would be ok with me starting to wean myself off them.    I did it by myself as I already had an appointment booked with her for a couple of weeks, and there was nothing available sooner.     I became a real snappy cow as I came off them.   It was really weird.    I could feel myself getting stressed and upset with the most minor of things, and yet there was nothing I could do to stop myself reacting badly.          By the time I saw the doctor, she agreed I had done the right thing, and we needed to try something new.       She has prescribed a different drug, and said to give it a few weeks as I would probably feel a little strange on them to start with.      Strange does not begin to describe how I am feeling!      I am sleeping less badly – I can’t say better because my sleeping is still terrible.      I have what only feels like flu like symptoms.     I ache in every joint, and feel totally exhausted.      Reading the screed, they are normal side effects.      I am just hoping the Doctor is correct, and they do settle after just a couple of weeks.      I am back to see her next week, and so it will be reviewed as to if this is the way forward, or to try something else!

The doctor also referred me to a mindfulness’ practitioner.     I have read quite a lot about Mindfulness in the past, and while the idea of it appeals to me, I think that when your head is a mess, trying to sit quietly to clear the clutter from your brain isn’t that easy.    I did however agree to meet with the lady to find out more.      I found it quite liberating to sit and talk about why my head was such a mess, and how juggling so many balls was leaving little or no time for me because of fear of letting other people down.      I will have a few more one on one sessions with her before attending the group classes.      It can’t do any harm anyway, and hopefully some good!

So things were beginning to get back on a less rocky path.      I could identify when I was acting in an odd manner, and even though I couldn’t always do anything about it, awareness is a huge leap forward.       I am hoping these pills I am now taking settle soon, as I feel so rough, but as the doctor told me getting the medication right can be trial and error as there as so many different drugs in the family of medication we are looking at.    Fingers crossed.

Then this morning, my improving mood hit rock bottom.    In the post I received a letter from the sheriffs’ court with a fine of contempt of court.     A few weeks back I had received a citation to attend court as a potential juror.     I wasn’t impressed, but it is my civil duty.    I did however miss read the date on it.  I read it as August when in fact it said April.    I should have attended the court last Monday.     I feel so stupid.     I feel guilty.     I feel I have let my family down as we now have to try to find £400 to pay the fine within the next month.     I am so upset by it.     I know it is done and nothing can change it now, but I just want to cry at how foolish I have been.      With so much going on in my world, I just didn’t read the citation properly.       I am sure in the light of a new day, I will realise being so upset by it isn’t helping, but for now I feel down.     Hubby is now going to have a low key birthday as anything that would have been spent on that will have to go towards the fine.     We will also have to tighten our belt to try and find the rest of the money.

We live and learn.